Wednesday, July 1, 2015
French Onion Dip
This little piece of creative writing won first place in the Friday's People's Choice Prose Competition at the 2015 West Virginia Writer's Conference.
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While dipping some ruffled potato chips in a cool, freshly opened tub of French Onion Dip I began wondering “What is so French about it?”. I mean, why not Basque Onion Dip or Parisian Onion Dip? Perhaps this delicious dip got its name because when someone eats it on their chips their lips smack back in a French Kiss sort of way. Yea, I am that kind of a romantic.
Imagine my surprise when I Googled the question “Why is French Onion Dip called French Onion Dip” and discovered that other people with too much free time on their hands also searched the internet for an answer to this deep existential question—and had actually received answers. Some answers attributed the name of the dip to its being made from French Onion Soup mix. Others attributed the name to the soup mix which derived its name from a soup made with French bread. One answer even stated that the dip was invented in France! If that were the case, then like Champagne, only dip made in France ought to bear the moniker French Onion Dip. Se la vie.
Then I began wondering why, immediately after the French criticized the American 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bob Ney had not sought to rename this delicious dip Freedom Dip? If a dozen years of political and diplomatic hindsight has taught us anything, it has taught us that the proper response today would be to rename this delicious dipping concoction I Told You So Dip. Then, every time we dipped a ruffled potato chip in it we would immediately be reminded of how right the French were and how wrong we were.
Seriously, though, what is so French about this dip? Is it the onions that are French, or the dip itself? Would a similar dip made in Georgia from local onions qualify as Vidalia Onion Dip even if it contained some variant of onion other than Vidalia? Do onions even grow in France and if they do, are they any good? Alas, I am at a lost for an answer. Even Jean-Paul Sartre has been purported to have said "Everything has been figured out, except why French Onion Dip is named what it is."
I am left wondering about the cultural significance of French Onion Dip. What if Marie Antoinette had opined “Let them eat chips dipped in French Onion Dip”? What if American beatniks had been identified by their gathering in coffee houses around bowls of chips, dipping them in French Onion Dip, rather than their wearing French berets? What if Che Guevara’s revolutionary idea had been to provide every Argentine a bag of chips and a tub of French Onion Dip? What if Bob Marley had sung about the pleasures of eating chips dipped in French Onion Dip rather than smoking ganja?
Please excuse me while I dip another ruffled potato chip in some French Onion Dip.